Red Hook revels; community artists and residents showcased at second Celebrating Red Hook

The party was on at the pier.

Red Hook businesses, artists and residents gathered Saturday, July 25 at Erie Basin Park for the second annual “Celebrating Red Hook,” a festival that spotlights the community’s services and people.

Around 1,200 people from around the city attended the event that circled the park. Throughout the day, people browsed local businesses stands, such as those put up by restaurants, antique stores and breweries, all of which were there to focus attention on the neighborhood.

“Red Hook is changing very quickly. It’s a hidden gem and is falling under scrutiny,” said Kimberly Gail Price, the festival’s manager. “So the idea is to bring out as many people to show their art.”

Some of that art included jewelry art, dance performers, and a lineup of mostly Brooklyn-based musicians that played on a center stage in front of the pier each hour that the festival ran, 12-9 p.m.

“The music is great. It livens up the festival,” Krystle Rodriguez, a Harlem resident, said. “This is my first time here in Red Hook and it’s been great.”

Beyond spotlighting Red Hook and showcasing its artists, Price said she wanted “Celebrating Red Hook” to serve as a reminder of the community’s core in the face of increasing gentrification.

“There will come a time when one of those Starbucks, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts move in, change the appearance of the neighborhood, and change the type of people in Red Hook,” she said. “But the true artist will never be forced out.”

The Red Hook Star-Revue organized the festival and secured sponsors—such as IKEA, Brooklyn Bridge Realty and Investors Bank—to cover operational costs and ensure free admission.
Local merchants covered the costs for their festival stands, according to Price, as they brought their own products and maintained the profits.

Over 70 local businesses attended “Celebrating Red Hook,” more than twice the number from last year’s festival.

“This is a good outlet,” said Christian Torres, a bassist for the Mourning War, one of the bands that played at the center stage and usually performs in the area. “Red Hook’s not a place a lot of people come to visit; there are no trains here, so [the festival] is an excuse to hang out.”

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